We'd like to welcome you to our event pick em'. I know this has been a tradition in the Talking MMA community, and one we look to continue here at Fightful.
We'll be doing these for main card UFC fights, and maybe for pro wrestling events as well. If there are any changes I need to make to better accommodate the Talking MMA group, don't hesitate to let me know.
The video above is our Fightful MMA Podcast's predictions. You can subscribe to our MMA & Boxing Channel at this link. We'll be be going live right after the show for a post-fight review also! You can make predictions all the way up until the main card is starting!
Here is the main card for UFC 238:
UFC Bantamweight Championship
Henry Cejudo (14-2) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-5-1)
With the vacant Bantamweight Title up for grabs, two of the UFC's most red-hot fighters meet in an exciting main event here at the United Center. Cejudo enters the Flyweight titleholder, most recently knocking out then 135 pound kingpin TJ Dillashaw, earning a shot at becoming double-champion. On the other hand, Moraes is the clear top contender at Bantamweight, scoring three straight first-round finishes. As a matchup, this one is truly fascinating.
It's hard for me to ignore Moraes' status as the genuine 135 pounder here and combined with his championship success in WSOF, he's a compelling pick. On the other hand, Cejudo has more experience under this particular pressure and is fresh off of victories over two of the sport's modern greats too. This is truly a pick 'em huh? In the end, I lean towards Moraes as frankly, he just feels destined to have that title around his waist right now. Techincally, this is a tough one to tackle.
UFC Women's Flyweight Championship
Valentina Shevchenko (16-3) (c) vs. Jessica Eye (14-6, 1NC)
In the co-main event, another title will be on the line, with Valentina Shevchenko defending her Flyweight crown opposite Jessica Eye. Since returning to Flyweight, Eye has scored three straight wins, rebounding after a disappointing spell at 135 lbs. That form has certainly been impressive but even still, it's hard to look past Shevchenko here. An established fighter at the elite level, Shevchenko looks at home at Flyweight, taking the title with a decision victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Though Eye is certainly talented, it's hard to see where she'll find consistent success here. That's not to say she won't win moments of the fight or even rounds of course. However, it does seem unlikely that she'll win enough of either to leave UFC 238 as champion. With that being said, stranger things have happened.
Tony Ferguson (24-3) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-11)
This isn't a fight built for predictions but one that instead, exists purely for our enjoyment. With that being said, here's my prediction. Cerrone can definitely hurt Ferguson on the feet and frankly, it's likely that he'll do exactly that. The question is whether or not he can close the show if that happens, with Ferguson's legendary durability threatening to decline at any moment. My instincts are that after an early scare, Ferguson will fire back and quite rapidly turn the tide.
His pressure is unparalleled and that feels like a stylistic issue for Cerrone particularly. My gut feeling is that before long, Ferguson will overwhelm Cerrone and score the finish. Honestly though, every result is on the table in this simply mouthwatering affair.
Jimmie Rivera (22-3) vs. Petr Yan (12-1)
At 4-0 inside the octagon, Petr Yan is a rising presence at Bantamweight, now owning the #9 position in the division's UFC rankings. Most recently, Yan outpointed John Dodson and will now look to take another step towards title contention this Saturday night. Though the higher ranked fighter, Rivera has lost 2 of his last 3, even if against admittedly elite competition. Rivera also scored a decision win over Dodson though and this looks almost guaranteed to be a hard fought affair.
I personally don't see an early finish here but instead, a competitive 15 minute battle. In the end, I pick Yan, believing he's more well-rounded without an ounce of confidence in my opinion.
Tai Tuivasa (8-1) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (17-2, 1NC)
A natural counter puncher, Ivanov is usually happy to concede the center of the octagon and in my view, that could prove pivotal here. While Ivanov's grappling could lead him to a victory, I believe that his general pace will alow the explosive Tuivasa to shine. With his foe backed up to the fence, I expect the Australian to flurry big, unleashing heavy punches and rocking Ivanov with regularity. In the same way though, Tuivasa could also fall victim to a counter just as he did against dos Santos.
The grappling element is fascinating also because while it appears to be a clear advantage for Ivanov, it's also an element that we haven't seen in Ivanov's two octagon appearances thus far. For that reason, I'm picking Tuivasa to return to the win column.